No, indeed. Again, Gretna Green was a serendipitous fact – there were numerous logistical story reasons why the traveling abduction party had to stop at that point in Scotland, just over the border with England. It just so happened that that spot on the map was in fact Gretna Green. So the blacksmith’s forge, which incidentally still stands, and its famous anvil, play a part in the overarching story, and lend a certain sinister tension to the by then evolving romance between the hero and heroine, neither of whom is at all happy about the abduction party halting and waiting at an inn across the road from the blacksmith’s forge for the to them unknown man behind the abduction to arrive. The relevant facts about marriages performed over the anvil in the blacksmith’s forge at Gretna Green were a) that the woman could be much younger than allowed in England, and did not need her parents’ or guardians’ permission to marry, just as long as she freely agreed to the wedding, and b) that such marriages were legally binding in England as well as Scotland. So in this case, rather than Gretna Green being a destination our lovers look upon as a romantic place, because of the story, it’s transformed into a threat – a bit of a twist.
Determining the speed of a private coach-and-four, driven under various conditions along the highways of England in 1829, was a point I had to research thoroughly for this trilogy. I eventually found sufficient references from that time to be certain of the likely speeds of travel. From that I worked out how far the kidnappers’ coach in the first book would go each day. I then spent quite a bit of time poring over old maps to determine exactly which towns the kidnappers, who wanted to avoid notice and therefore wanted to stop in small, out-of-the-way hostelries, would have used. Once I had the likely small towns and villages, I use the internet and satellite maps to drop in on the main streets and check the age of the buildings. England being England, in small villages I can often find inns and taverns that, from their architecture and construction, I can tell would have been there in 1829. That said, I don’t use the same names for the hotels unless those names appear in the historical record for that period.